Premature political campaigns obscene – Daily Nation


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The heightened election campaigns tied to the presidential succession in 2022 unnecessarily raise political temperatures and risk undermining economic growth.

Kenyans went to the polls in 2017 but have not had peace since. First, National Super Alliance organised street protests thereafter that were characterised by destruction of property, violence and human pain and nearly brought the country to its knees.

It was not until March last year, when President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa torchbearer Raila Odinga entered into a truce, through the “Handshake”, that the violence ceased and the country breathed a sigh of relief.

However, the handshake has since been rocked by stiff opposition from factions of the political elite who are profoundly uncomfortable with the camaraderie between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

Matters have not been helped by the fact that, other than the ensuing political calm and the Building Bridges Initiative team collecting views on governance, the public is not well versed with the deal between the duo.

Notwithstanding that, our concern is that, for the past several months, political leaders across the aisle have been criss-crossing the country literally, campaigning but disguising themselves as either fundraising or inspecting development projects.

What is appalling is the insults and invectives from the gatherings aimed at dismantling presumed rivals but whose net effect is to plant seeds of discord. The frequency and pitch of diatribes is quite unnerving and revolting. That must stop forthwith.

The President, his deputy William Ruto, Mr Odinga and other political bigwigs have a duty to the populace of maintaining peace and sobriety.

A country cannot be permanently on the campaign mode; it is like ours is a case where the search for votes begins immediately after an election.

Which raises the question: Why do the politicians seek power? Is it power for its own sake?

Yet, before elections, politicians roll out manifestos that outline their programmes of action. They spell out activities they seek to undertake if elected. Thus, it expected that once they ascend to power, their business is to execute those programmes, which, in essence, ought to provide a platform for the next election’s campaigns. The public should judge them on their accomplishments.

Today, a visitor to Kenya would be excused for imagining that the country is on the threshold of an election — yet the next one is a whole three years away. The public is fatigued and yearns for quietude.

High-pitched campaigns cloaked in fundraisers, prayer sessions or inspection of development projects must end. Political leaders should spare the public those senseless battles.